Sage Tea: Health Benefits, Nutrition, and Uses

Sage tea is a drink made from infusing hot water with sage, a popular aromatic herb that is also known as common sage or garden sage. A member of the mint family, sage  is native to the Mediterranean region and Asia Minor. Its leaves have a long history of medicinal use. It is also commonly used as a spice in foods and fragrance in soaps and other cosmetics. People today still drink sage tea to help with things like oral health and brain function, among other possible benefits.

Health Benefits

Sage is naturally packed with nutrients, minerals and antioxidants that work together to provide a number of health benefits. Drinking sage tea can:

Promote Oral Health  

Sage contains antibacterial agents that help combat the kinds of bacteria that cause plaque buildup and other oral issues. Although mouthwashes that contain sage extract can effectively reduce this bacteria, studies show that drinking sage tea has a similar effect. The anti-inflammatory properties of sage tea can also help lower any inflammation in your mouth and throat.

Improve Cognitive Function

Although the potential for sage tea to support cognitive function isn't yet proven, multiple studies show how sage extract can benefit abilities like critical thinking and problem solving. In one study, people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease took sage extract for a period of 16 weeks. The results showed improved cognitive measurements as well as lessened agitation.

Ease Menopause Symptoms

Many people  use sage tea to alleviate some symptoms of menopause caused by the decline of estrogen. These symptoms include:

In one study, menopausal women who experienced at least 5 hot flashes a day were treated with fresh sage leaves for 8 weeks. The sage preparation showed clinical value in treating hot flashes.

Nutrition

Sage contains numerous health-promoting nutrients, including the following vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants: 

Nutrients per Serving

One serving, or 1 teaspoon, of ground sage contains: 

  • Calories: 2
  • Fat: 0
  • Cholesterol: 0
  • Protein: 0
  • Vitamin A: 1% of your daily recommended intake (DRI)
  • Calcium: 1% DRI
  • Iron: 1% DRI

Continued

A cup of sage tea prepared with 1 teaspoon of ground sage will have roughly the same nutritional value.

Portion Sizes

The amount of sage that gets infused into sage tea depends on how long you steep the leaves. To avoid any health risks, you should limit yourself to 3 to 6 cups of sage tea per day.

Things to Watch out For

The amount of sage in tea and other foods is considered safe. 

However, sage contains a constituent called thujone, which can cause seizures and other adverse effects. Because cases of seizures associated with ingesting sage have been reported, high-dose or long-term use of sage tea might not be safe, although more research is needed to confirm this health risk. 

Due to thujone's harmful effects, drinking sage tea might not be suitable for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How to Prepare Sage Tea

To prepare sage tea, boil 1 cup of water and pour it over 1 tablespoon of sage leaves. Leave the leaves to steep until you have reached your desired strength (around 5 to 8 minutes), and then strain them out. You can prepare sage tea with ground sage, but be extra careful when filtering to avoid a gritty texture. Once the infusion has cooled enough to safely drink, you can sip it up and reap the concoction's many health benefits. 

To spruce up your sage tea, you can add any of the following ingredients: 

  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Lemon juice or zest
  • Cinnamon
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 20, 2020

Sources

SOURCES: 

Advances in Therapy: "First time proof of sage's tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes."

ESHA Research, Inc.: “Herb, sage, ground.”

European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology: "Antimicrobial efficacy of antiseptic mouthrinse solutions."

Frontiers in Pharmacology: "Antioxidant capacity and polyphenolic composition as quality indicators for aqueous infusions of Salvia officinalis L. (sage tea)."

International Journal of Nursing: “Women’s Menopause-Related Complaints and Coping Strategies: Manisa Sample."

Iranian Journal of Microbiology: "The antibacterial effect of sage extract (Salvia officinalis) mouthwash against Streptococcus mutans in dental plaque: a randomized clinical trial."

Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics: "Salvia officinalis extract in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease: a double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial."

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: "Sage."

Nutritional Geography: "Sage."

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